Wednesday Interview – Ep 3 – Yvette Bessels

As part of an ongoing series, we will ask all of our team members to answer 10 questions about themselves and their shops. This way, we’ll get to know one another a little bit better and perhaps pick up a great tip or two! I will personally aim to post these out every Wednesday around noon, so look out for some questions in your inbox and the posts to appear here. For those amongst you who are shy – don’t worry. It’s not compulsory to take part, nor do you have to send in any pictures if you don’t want to.

[If you are on Team Etsy Cambridge and want to be part of this series, just fill out the questions – and perhaps add an image or two – and send them over to me on Etsy (Y. Bessels / 1000crows) or on Facebook (Yvette Bessels). I’ll add them to the scheduled waiting list.]

This week, as one of the Team Leaders, I’ll be answering my own questions.


1. What’s your name?

Yvette Bessels

2. What’s your shop name?


3. How did you choose your shop name?

I wanted to pick a name that’s both evocative and memorable.  I am a bit of a goth / metalhead at heart and thought of all the ol’ classics – but most names were either too ‘out there’ or already taken! Then I remembered a psychology article I read a while ago how titles with numbers (5 reasons to… / the 7 best…. etc) make people curious. I was also aiming for getting higher in alphabetical order (numbers before letters) but I don’t think Etsy provides that specific option.

So I became 1000crows. A little creepy and not uncommon.

But very memorable.

4. What do you sell?

Vintage and Antique goods and some of my own wet plate collodion photography, which is a photographic technique that was invented in the 1850’s. But mostly vintage goods seeing I have not developed my line of photography product very well … yet.

5. How did you decide to do this?

Because of my partner’s work we travel around quite a bit and since 2008 we have lived in Necastle-upon-Tyne, Leamington Spa, Sheffield, Sydney (Australia), Deventer (The Netherlands), Dusseldorf (Germany) and now in Cambridge, so I realized halfway through I needed a job that can move with me. I had been selling online before so it was a small step to get back into it.

6. What do you love most about your products?

Every single item is unique and some are so very tactile – the vintage finds as well as the photographs. There can be a lot of similarities between 2 things but none are identical. And both hold a lot of surprises: going out to buy stock is a complete treasure hunt every time, taking a photo on wet plate can have very unexpected results.

7. Which of your products are bestselling or most popular?

I seem to sell a lot of boxes, of all shapes and sizes. I sell boxes in leather, wood and metal mostly but the shell ring boxes always do well and chestnut brown leather items never seem to go out of fashion, no matter the season.

8. What were your biggest challenges in opening / running an online shop?

Buying stock and not worry too much about the initial layout. I started pretty much with £100 to buy my first items and took it from there. I always get nervous spending (what are for me) large sums of  cash and not knowing when you get it back. When you sell on a market you have your face-to-face negotiations and you can adjust your price, online you have to do your research, price your item accordingly and sometimes keep your fingers crossed you got it right.

9. What are your wishes for your shop – are there products you’d like to add or any favourite shops whose success you’d like to achieve?

I would like to spend some more time on adding my photography items as I have been putting it off way too long. That might be because of the initial research and layout involved in getting things printed etc. I have been creating new work, which I believe is of a much better standard to some of the items in the shop now and it’s time I get my skates on!

10. What would be your golden tip for opening and running an Etsy Shop? And you cannot say having great pictures!

I’m sure there is not just one golden tip! I really had to think hard about this one, there are so many great pointers to choose from.

Make sure that when you open your shop, you have enough items in there, of enough variety that you span a wider search area. There is no use opening a shop with 3 postcards or 4 t-shirts that all have the same titles, description and maybe ARE exactly the same. Be creative with your tags and descriptions, see if you can connect any of your items with one of the most popular Etsy Categories (weddings and holidays anyone?) or think of other ways to use an item. If a small box could fit a ring, call it a ring box! If it could fit a small gift, call it a gift box, gift wrapping or gift presentation box even if it was not originally intended to be one. Play with popular search terms – Art Deco, Steampunk, Modernist etc. even if it is just ‘in the manner of’.

If that’s not a great option for you, have you thought about expanding your range of products? Either by developing a new product or seeing if you can get some second-hand. If you sell jewelry, you could sell boxes or gift bags – if you sell wool, you could sell knitting patterns – if you paint, you could personalize furniture – If you screen print t-shirts, you can screen-print bedding etc etc.

They don’t need to be expensive or best-sellers, but they will pull people into your shop via the wider net you are casting 🙂


This brown bag had been in the shop for about 4 days
This brown bag had been in the shop for about 4 days
some items are not very valuable, but photograph well indeed!
some items are not very valuable, but photograph amazingly well!
One of my own wet plate collodion photograph on glass
One of my own wet plate collodion photographs on glass


Me, just outside my front door
Me, just outside my front door


Hi - my name's Yvette! Originally from the Netherlands, I am a kind, lively and laid-back person with a can-do attitude. Together with my husband Sean, we have moved from the Netherlands to Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK), Leamington Spa (UK), Sheffield (UK), Sydney (Australia), back to the Netherlands, to Dusseldorf (Germany), Cambridge (UK), Frankfurt (Germany and now Toronto (Canada) in the last 9 years. And no, I don't think this is our final stop either! I have learned most of my photographic craft whilst at Art college (quite a few years back), from the two portrait studio jobs I held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and from assisting fine art dealer Linus Carr in Warwick. Even though I still own and use my digital camera, I mainly shoot on medium format Black and White film, using a Rolleiflex TLR. As I become more and more fascinated with old photography techniques, I started shooting wet plates in 2013. You can see some of my work on As anyone who has visited my shop or '1000crowsVintage' on Etsy may attest to, I am a big fan of carboots / charity shops as well as vintage fairs, garage sales, auctions ..... you get the idea - and my house is slowly filling up with beautiful random things - some of which I sell online, and some of which I will hoard for a while. x

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